Port of Virginia expands shipping channel for larger vessels

Port of Virginia expands shipping channel for larger vessels

The Port of Virginia’s larger shipping channel has reportedly opened for two-way transit of ultra-large container vessels (ULCV).

The two-way transit aims to lower idling times for large vessels on the dock by up to 15 per cent.

Widening the canal is reportedly part of the port’s $1.4 billion strategic infrastructure improvement programme, which focuses on enhancing efficiency, accommodating higher cargo quantities, and accelerating freight movement through the gateway.

In addition to extending the canal, the port is dredging it, Norfolk Harbour, and the ocean approach to 55 feet and 59 feet, respectively.

After the $450 million dredging project is completed in autumn 2025, the Port of Virginia will boast the deepest and largest waterways on the US East Coast.

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Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, said: “This is a true advantage for anyone delivering to or from America. Our wider channel sets the Port of Virginia apart by allowing for consistent vessel flow, increasing berth and container yard efficiencies, and further improving harbour safety.

“Ocean carriers are putting larger vessels into their East Coast port rotations with additional ULCVs on order, and our partners know their vessels will not outgrow our capabilities. In Virginia, there is no concern for channel width, overhead draft restrictions, capacity or cargo handling infrastructure.”

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Capt. Whiting Chisman, President of the Virginia Pilot Association, stated: “The completion of this project is a testament to the collaboration of all port stakeholders in Virginia. It is a momentous achievement.

“The focus of the project more than a decade ago was on creating a channel wide enough and deep enough to safely accommodate a class of container vessels that were not expected to call the US East Coast for years to come. This port is ready for the future.”

In February, the Port of Virginia announced it is expanding its portfolio of international connections with two new services that connect directly with the Latin American market.

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